Northern Ireland’s post-pandemic bounce back setting strong example

Savill’s recently published report found that the Northern Irish economy grew by 6% in 2021
Northern Ireland’s post-pandemic bounce back setting strong example

View over the City of Belfast, where there's a significant rise in the number of build-to-rent schemes in the pipeline.

While we still grapple with shortages of supply in the Republic, the fortunes of our neighbours up north give us something of an insight into how it might be/will be once we’re back on an even keel.

One of the most interesting statistics from Savill’s recently published Northern Ireland Market report is that its economy grew by 6% in 2021, whilst the UK economy has contracted by 2.1% in the same period.

Northern Ireland currently has the unique advantage of having one foot in the EU and one in the UK. From an international trade point of view, this is undoubtedly contributing to its attractiveness as a place to invest and do business.

But property supply has also been steady, with the statelet’s policies on the provision of residential and commercial building having clearly been made a strong priority even as the Pandemic problems continued in the latter half of 2021.

Whilst they do have the problem of rising residential rents (which are rising faster than in any other part of the UK), these are still at the relatively manageable rate of 5% (in Q3 of 2021) while in the Republic, even with rent caps in place, the figure is 11.7% nationally and 12.6% in Cork over the last 12 months.

The report notes a significant rise in the number of build-to-rent schemes in the pipeline, particularly in Belfast, where there are seven schemes at various stages in the planning/building process. Interestingly, this sector is dominated by the professionally owned super-landlord companies and two of the seven schemes will account for 56% of the total.

This type of institutional landlord is the kind that many in the Republic don’t like to see getting too much of a foothold in the market. However, in times of severe shortages, needs must and right now, many letting agents in Ireland would be glad to see more of them.

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